Category

GPS Kelp Surveys

Kelp is in trouble. Warming oceans, storms, increasing flows of nutrient-poor tropical water from the north and phase shifts thanks to the rise of black urchins are conspiring to put our beautiful kelp beds under pressure. Whilst we have little data from NSW, in Tasmania scientists have estimated that giant kelp cover has fallen by […]

Searching for Macleay’s Spurilla

I am trying to solve a 152 year old ‘cold case’ in the world of nudibranchs. In 1864, the pioneering Australian marine biologist George Angas published a scientific paper naming as new species 30 nudibranchs (both dorids and aeolids) that he collected from Sydney Harbour between 1858 and 1860. Some of Angas’s species, like the […]

Early Australian Ichthyology

Can you remember what it was like trying to identify fish from a dive before digital cameras and the internet? If you were like me, you probably took underwater photos on a film camera with a maximum of 36 shots, waited days for them to be developed (only a few ever turned out), then went […]

Adopt A Dive Site – Camp Cove

Garbage. Rubbish. Trash. Dross. Whichever word you choose, it often ends up in our waterways. It doesn’t “go away.” Especially plastic. Marine life ranging from plankton to whales ingest plastic. Plastic is found in 90% of sea birds. Animals get trapped and die in our refuse. There is no “away.” On Sunday 15 May the […]

RLS Jervis Bay – The Docks

The trip across Jervis Bay had been a bit choppy with all divers donning suits and staying under cover but with the wind from the NW pushing on toward the other side was a great option. Finally, there I was sitting on the URG boat back at one of my favourite NSW south coast dive […]

Scientific Names Do Change

One of the arguments for learning scientific names is that they are stable and reliable compared to common names. Many marine animals have one scientific name, and multiple common names, often depending on the location. For example a Jewfish (NSW) is called a Mulloway in Vic, Butterfish in SA and Kingfish in WA. But scientifically […]

Ningaloo Reef Life Survey Trip

It was in the Bronte Surf Club that I first resolved to go to Ningaloo; Tim Winton, famous author and patron of the Australian Marine Conservation Society, was speaking at the club about his life in WA and the campaign to save Ningaloo. Today of course Ningaloo is a Marine Park to rival many in […]

Sea Urchins Research

URG will assist the University of Western Sydney Molecular Physiology Department to collect black sea urchins for their research using unfertilised eggs isolated from sea urchins as a model system to study fundamental biological processes. 60 sea urchins need to be collected each month and this would mostly be shore dives. URG has been issued […]

Cuttlefish Research Study

URG has been invited to help collecting cuttlefish eggs by Dr Anne-Laurence Bibost from Sydney University to help with her cuttlefish prenatal stress research. Australia is vulnerable to the effects of ocean acidification and global warming projected for the future decades. Consequently, the main interest of the research is to examine the effects of environmental change on […]

Dragons of Sydney – Citizen Science Program

The Dragons of Sydney Program is a collaboration between scientists from UTS, volunteer divers from URG NSW and supporting organisations including NPA NSW, Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS) and AMCS. Aim The aim of the program is to engage volunteer divers in order to gather important scientific data regarding this charismatic, protected and threatened […]

Hungry Point Cronulla; Feb 25th 2015

For those of you scratching your heads wondering what or where in the world is “Hungry Point”, then if I say it is the location of what used to be called the NSW Fisheries Research Institute at Cronulla in Port Hacking, then all of the following should make sense. First opened in the early 1900’s […]

Reef Life Survey Training Review

Indoctrination came early. It was the first meal of the first night on my first URG trip (Narooma). “RLS this… RLS that”. It was only when I enquired about the meaning of the acronym that my new dive buddies realised they had been speaking in a foreign (to me) language. Such is the way with […]

URG and RFA Clean Up Project

As any diver knows, the ocean isn’t the cleanest place. The amount of plastic floating in our oceans is estimated to be about 268,000 tonnes. Some of this debris ends up killing marine animals, some finds its way to our food, and some just floats around for many many years. URG was recently awarded a […]

Hungry Point Cronulla Project Overview

Report of Meeting with George Cotis and Prof. Alberto Albani Monday Feb 2nd 2015 A project in Port Hacking for UNSW has been flagged by me with John Turnbull. I met today at Cronulla with George Cotis and Alberto Albani and they have provided the following information as to what they require. They require a […]

Nelson Bay Nudi Festival and Sea Slug Census

Nelson Bay Sea Slug census was born in December 2013 as a joint partnership between Southern Cross University & Combined Hunter Underwater Group Inc (CHUG). The fifth Sea Slug Census was held on Sat 13 December 2014 and URG was represented by moi, Allyson Groth, Kris O’Keefe and John Turnbull. Allyson and I traveled together on Friday […]

Sea Stars

As a kid we called them starfish; but of course they’re not “fish” so they’ve undergone a politically-correct name change to “sea stars”. They’ve been brought to life as characters like Patrick in Spongebob Squarepants and Peach in Finding Nemo… and with good reason. Many sea stars have five arms, and you can imagine one […]

Marine debris clean up

On this lovely Tuesday, Yanir and I decided to clean up Clifton Garden in the spirit of Project Aware’s Dive Against Debris month. We jumped in at the end of the jetty and headed west along the net. As predicted, fishing lines were in abundance and they had become so tangled around seaweed and everything else […]

Seahorses and Sanctuary Zones

A recent study has found that seahorses are more abundant in fished areas than in sanctuary zones (Harasti et al, PLOS One, 2014). These findings were picked up by the popular press and published as a provocative article “Seahorses under threat in marine parks” (http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/seahorses-under-threat-in-marine-parks-study-20140819-105uw9.html). Like all studies, this one has to be considered in […]